"The Adventures of Sebastian Cole" from 1998 is a perfect companion for fellow recent Warner Archive DVD release titles "The World According to Garp" and "Permanent Record."
The titular Cole is like the titular Garp in that he is a young aspiring writer with odd experiences that involve the eccentric individuals, including a figurative clone of a butt-ugly transvestite in "Garp," in his life. However, Sebastian is closer in age to equal angsty and quirky teen boy Chris Townsend in "Record."
Another parallel is that "Cole" star Adrian Grenier of the HBO sitcom "Entourage" shows that he can play a troubled emo teen as well as "Record" star Keanu Reeves. Other great "Cole" casting includes Clark Gregg in a pre-Marvel role as the primary parental figure in the life of Sebastian.
The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, of a scene from "Cole" demonstrates that Grenier would be right at home at San Dimas High.
Folks who are interested in either of the other films mentioned above can read the Unreal TV review of "Garp" and/or post on "Record." One spoiler is that both films exceed the expectations of excellence related to Archive titles.
The opening scene of "Cole," which is set in the uber-awesome '80s, is a wonderfully graphic one. We then flashback to a depiction of a unity that presents a quickly destroyed illusion of a happy family; the group is barely keeping it together when already long-haired step-father Hank announcing plans for a sex-change operation causes a meltdown with fallout that includes Sebastian's mother separating from him and moving herself and Sebastian to England.
Sebastian having a less than jolly ole time in London has him soon returning, sans mere, to his rural New York town with both a new 'do and 'tude. Hank, who still has not gone under the knife, is now living as Henrietta. She takes in Sebastian but sets ground rules that he predictably violates.
Great scenes, which equally terrific '80s pop and new wave hits accompany, that depict Sebastian's fast times at his high school include amusing his fellow students by repeatedly missing the school bus, riding his bicycle through school halls, and doing his best Marky Mark impression with the added touch of only wearing one sock.
The titular adventures relate to the efforts of the repressed titular writer-in-training to have experiences that inspire great literature. One obstacle is that our hero sadly neither is born great nor seems capable of having greatness thrust upon him.
The elements described above combine to create a good portrait of an everyboy who is not doing so well coping with life even before the events in the film present him with challenges that no one wants to face. His not-so-slow descent into madness fits the true definition of comedy in that it is funny because someone else experiences it.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Cole" is encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.